Cumberland picks Waterville deputy chief to lead Police Department

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CUMBERLAND — Charles “Chip” Rumsey, a 21-year veteran of the Waterville Police Department, will be Cumberland’s next police chief.

Rumsey, deputy chief in Waterville, will replace Joe Charron, who retired as chief April 1 after 34 years in Cumberland. The Town Council is expected to approve the appointment May 23, and Rumsey will start work June 6, according to a May 5 announcement from Cumberland Town Manager Bill Shane. His annual salary will be $90,000.

“We’re very fortunate to have such a talented and experienced individual to lead the Police Department,” Shane said in an interview May 6. “Our process was rigorous, and the best and most qualified candidate rose to the challenge. I really believe Chip’s going to be a great fit for the Police Department … (and) in our community.”

A team of town staff, Cumberland police officers and Maine police chiefs narrowed 12 applicants for the job to five, Shane said. A meeting attended by 25 people – including town councilors and staff, School Board members, and the members of the public – focused on the applicants’ ability to respond to “a serious police incident,” he said.

“In my discussions with Chief Rumsey, I expressed I never wanted to see another outside hiring in our organization again,” Shane said in his May 5 announcement. “All promotions would be internal because all officers would be fully prepared to accept the next steps in their careers. Communication, leadership, mentoring and integrity will be the foundation of the new chief’s style.”

Rumsey, 45, is married and has two sons.

He was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and moved around the country frequently in his youth – including time in Bangor – because his father was in the U.S. Air Force. His interest in police work was sparked shortly before college, he said Friday, when he went on a patrol ride-along with his sister, Cathy Rumsey – now a lieutenant in the Bangor Police Department – while she was an officer in Minot, North Dakota.

“I thought it was very exciting, and seemed like it would be a fun career,” he said. He went on to earn a criminal justice degree at the University of North Dakota in 1994, and moved to Maine the following year to start work in Waterville.

Rumsey has taught criminal justice courses as an adjunct instructor since 2009. He graduated from the 2010 FBI National Academy and is a member of the International Association of Police Chiefs and the Maine Chiefs of Police Association.

He said he didn’t expect to leave Waterville “for anything other than a very exciting opportunity, a challenge, a new adventure.”

Rumsey said the chief’s job is “a really important community position. You’re a very visible face of town government.”

“I started doing some very careful research about the makeup of communities, about the strength of town government, the size and makeup of the police department,” he said. “After doing that research, Cumberland obviously came onto my radar as a community that would be very desirable, and a very exciting opportunity.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Charles “Chip” Rumsey, deputy police chief in Waterville, will become Cumberland’s police chief June 6.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.